We live a marathon life. God calls us to run the race with endurance, to keep our eyes focused on Jesus no matter what comes our way. As Jody Schmelzer reminds us in today’s L3 reading, that’s not always the easiest thing to do, but the reward for being faithful is worth the difficulties we face along the way.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” 1 Corinthians 9:24
The Corinthians were very familiar with athletic contests because every couple of years the Isthmian Games would take place in a nearby town. These games were a big deal — second only to the Olympic Games.
Paul used this illustration to the Corinthian church as an encouragement for them to stay faithful to God’s calling on their lives and to finish strong. Paul knew the difficult distractions the Corinthians were facing, and he wanted to remind them to stay in the race and trust the Lord to lead them through the difficult times.
Reading through 1 Corinthians 9 today has been a great reminder to me that the Christian life is still a lot like the race Paul was referring to in this passage. The race we are running was never meant to be easy. In fact, Jesus promised that this race would be filled with distractions and persecution (Matthew 5:11–12). There will be times when we will want to throw in the towel, but it’s during those seasons where God wants to reveal Himself to us in new ways and encourage us to stay faithful.
One of the things the Lord continues to reveal to me is that I need to have long obedience in the same direction. For me, this long obedience in the same direction must begin with a daily pursuit of Jesus through His Word. I am learning that as I abide in Him (John 15), He continues to fill me with His Presence and give me everything I need to stay in the race.
Lord Jesus, thank You so much for Your Word today out of 1 Corinthians 9. Thank You for the reminder that the race You have called us to run was never meant to be easy — but it was meant to be incredibly life-giving and life-changing. I pray that You would continue to remind us that You have an amazing purpose for our lives as we stay in the race and finish strong for Your glory alone!